Wow, what a humbling experience.
As I write this blog post I am sitting at Changping railway station reflecting on my time and experience in China. I spent the last four days visiting my manufacturer in the working class city of Changping. It’s a small town, nothing like the hustle and bustle of its cross-town neighbours of Shenzhen.
The biggest impact on me without a doubt were the people. The Chinese do not hold back in welcoming you to their Country and their home. From the moment I arrived into the factory I felt welcome in such a foreign place. As I walked into the reception of the factory there stood a picture of me and my account manager, Alvin, on a 6 foot banner that said “Welcome”. They had setup a welcome room with balloons, an Australian flag, food and drinks and staff with party poppers as I entered. I was given the rock star treatment.
Each day in Changping was unique, from meeting the people that help bring Uncle Jack to life who are the heart and soul of the factory, to learning about the assembly of products as well as visiting the suppliers of our manufacturer. The most humbling experience was yesterday, my last full day in Changping.
The morning started with any other, a visit to the factory, light-hearted discussions and many ideas shared. It quickly changed, strangely. The manager said to me that many of the staff wanted to take photos with me. In came an absolute barrage of staff with their phones taking selfies and even filming me as I walked across the room just to take another photo. I was pretty much famous, at least in Changping.
The management of the factory, along with one of the manager’s 9 year old sons who tagged along, took me on a behemoth day trip to China’s cultural theme park. They leave no stone unturned and spare no expense to make you feel welcome. When I tried to reach into my pocket to even pay for a coffee they would be so quick to put a stop to my efforts.
Once we got back to the hotel at around 8pm, a staff member from the factory had met us there to deliver gifts for me! What!? For the next 20 minutes I was completely inundated with traditional Chinese gifts and framed photographs of myself and the staff. It was actually quite an emotional experience after a really long day.
The next day (today) the management staff, along with my account manager’s wife & 6-month old son, chauffeured me to the Changping railway station all the way until they couldn’t get any further through customs. Kind-hearted souls, nothing less.
Overall it was a surreal experience to see how everything works and meet all of the people behind the scenes at the factory.